JFF (Sort Of) - What Does Your 5 Yo Watch on TV?

Updated on November 15, 2012
K.B. asks from Detroit, MI
27 answers

This isn't meant to be a debate on how much, if any, TV kids should watch. My daughter is now 5 and has been watching the shows on Disney Jr and Nick Jr since she was 2 (also did Sprout/PBS Kids but that's kinda fallen by the wayside). It is still what she puts on in the morning, and sometimes after school when she feels like watching something. Occasionally she will watch some of the cartoons on the Hub, like Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. The only other shows she likes and is even aware of are Phineas and Ferb, Wipeout when it's on, and The Middle. Occasionally she will watch a Disney movie or similar. However, I've noticed that more kids her age (4 to 6) are into shows that I would consider more appropriate for tweens - iCarly, A.N.T. Farm, etc. We carpool with our neighbor's daughter to school in the mornings - she is 6, in 1st grade, and sometimes asks DD if she watches Austin and Ally, or A.N.T. Farm, or whatever. Or if she likes Justin Bieber or One Direction. DD has no idea what she's talking about - they aren't even on her radar. Once she even told DD she watches those shows because she's a big kid, and because DD is still in kindergarten, she's a little kid and that's why she watches "little kid shows."

I am not in any big hurry to have my daughter grow up too soon and I don't like the idea of a 6 year old watching iCarly and Hannah Montana and swooning over Justin Bieber. I think kids grow up way too fast these days as it is. But I also feel like Dora and Diego have worn out their welcome, and am wondering what else is out there that DD can enjoy and would be appropriate for her age. I don't want to make her stop watching Nick Jr if she still really likes it, but still...

So what does your 5 year old like on TV these days? TIA!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your input! For the record, the girl in question is an only child, but does dance with girls that are older - 7 and 8 - so apparently that's how she knows about these shows since that is what they are talking about, and she is allowed to watch some herself. There is one mom in our neighborhood whose daughter is the same age as ours, and was watching iCarly at 3 - but we don't really hang out with them. Thank you again!

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answers from Missoula on

My 5 year old watches Sesame Street, Word World, The Cat in the Hat and a few other PBS shows. I record them to watch whenever we need them. He also loves Wipeout, and an occasional show on Animal Planet.

I don't let him watch much else, but he hasn't expressed any desire to change his shows, so I think he's happy.



answers from St. Louis on

We DVR a lot of her and my son's shows so they watch that mostly. Franklin, Little Bear, Wow Wow Wubzy, Bubble Guppies and occasionally if it's on (since we don't DVR it) - Dora, Diego, Phineas and Ferb, etc. She doesn't care for the older 'shows' that are not cartoons. She likes movies, too, but we don't watch them nearly as much.

She'll usually watch 1 show in the morning after she's ready for school if there is time (as her 3 YO brother is watching tv) and then occasionally after school and before bed. So on aveage she watches 30-60 minutes a day...sometimes more, sometimes less. On weekends I am more laid back about it because I like to sleep in later than 630am!! LOL



answers from Washington DC on

Oh I miss those days when my dd was younger and she watched cute, educational stuff. She loved Strawberry Shortcake, Timothy goes to School, Little Bear, Rolie Polie Olie, Jo Jo's Circus. Well now she is 9 and its I Carly, Victorious, which I think are the worst with the rude arrogant characters. Good Luck Charlie is not too bad. I do actually limit the time she spends watching the tween stuff and she actually enjoys other stuff like Cooking/Baking shows and anything with animals. :-)

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answers from Chicago on

Does the 6 yo in your carpool have older siblings? That can often influence what a younger sibling watches, is "in to", and thinks is "cool." I know my oldest son watched "little kid" shows a lot longer than his younger brother who is now 5 and watching Ben 10 and pokemon. Although the 5 yo also enjoys preschool shows now and then too. My daughter who is 8 is just now getting into watching Austin and Ally and likes Good Luck Charlie. She prefers Taylor Swift over Justin Bieber. I can't imagine her watching these shows at 6, I simply wouldn't have let her even if she wanted to. Do what you can to keep her young, they get exposed to way too much at such a young age now that it takes work to limit that influence.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

At 5 is was

- Avatar : The Last Airbender
- British Cartoons
- Lots of modern documentaries (Universe, Walking w dinosaurs/ prehistoric beasts, monsters, etc.)
- Lots of Pixar

At 10... Those shows you mentioned still aren't allowed. Stupidity being unavoidable in most of life, I like to limit it whenever possible.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I have a 5 year old daugher, she'll be 6 in a couple of months. She loves Super Hero Squad Show and My Little Pony. Pretty much anything with princesses or fairies or superheroes.

We do occasionally watch iCarly, very, very occasionally Victorious. We let her watch episodes of Doctor Who if we've watched them before and are sure they won't be weirdly inappropriate. (like the season where the main theme was the Doctor's death)

She also loves Cupcake Wars and Iron Chef. (the original, not the American version)

She's also very glad it's almost time for Christmas shows, as she's been begging to watch Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer since July.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

My five year old girls (kindergarteners) watch recorded Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid shows. When we're traveling they also watch Strawberry Shortcake and Curious George movies. But that's it. We don't do Disney Jr, the Hub, or Nick Jr because there are commercials. And there's no way in heck that I'd let my kids watch Hannah Montana or iCarly at this age.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter will be 5 in Feb. and she really only asks to watch 'The Bear-Bears' which is G-speak for The Bearnstein Bears. She also asks for Max and Ruby but her favorite, by far is 'Charlie and Lola' (have you seen/heard of that cartoon? So stinking cute) I let her watch episodes on the iPad off of Youtube.

~We do listen to a good amount of music and we were in the car last week and a song came on that I didn't recognize and she busts out with "this is Justin Bieber...ya know how I know? Cuz he sounds like a girl"....I didn't even know she knew who Justin Bieber was??? Almost made my 17y/o nephew spit his drink out threw his nose, he was so surprised she said it and it was just so funny the way she said it!

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answers from Indianapolis on

I have an almost 11 year old and even she doesn't watch some of these shows like I-Carly, Hannah Montana, and Spongebob. She doesn't even care that she doesn't watch the "in" tween shows. She thinks they are silly. (And they are. I have discouraged them because they are so air heady and boy crazy and snarky/rude all the time. We went on vacation with a large group of cousins and they were always watching these shows and she commented to me "Mom, these shows just seem kind of brain numbing." So I guess I've brainwashed her well, LOL.) Her favorite shows are "Little house on the Praire", "Avonlea" "Liberty Kids" "Leave it to Beaver", "Lassie", etc. At 5, if she starts outgrowing Dora, some good options that are still appropriate for preschoolers, but slightly older ones (5 to 7 or 8) seem to enjoy are Strawberry Shortcake, Curious George, Dragon Tales, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Little Bear, Busytown, and Berenstein Bears. I find when they start outgrowing these (like 9ish) they start enjoying a lot of the old school cartoons like Flintstones or Bugs Bunny. Although my girls have tended to gravitate more towards a lot of the old sitcoms starting at that age. Good luck on keeping your little girl a little girl. I admire you greatly for it. :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

DS is 6 now. He watches football and when he was 5 he watched football and the occasional hockey game. (He would watch hockey this year if he could). He watches cooking shows during the commercial breaks in the game. That's it for programmed television. We also have a set of Jean Michel Cousteau oceanography videos and the BBC show Blue Planet. We will occasionally (every few weeks) pop one in for 15-20 minutes.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My 5 year old is not into the older shows yet either. Occasionally Good Luck Charlie will snag her interest, but she mostly prefers all the Strawberry Shortcake and Disney and stuff you mention. Even Phineus and Ferb is a little beyond her.

personally, the longer she stays away from those shows with the sassy tweens, the better, right? Too bad there is not much in the middle.

Side note, I got a Tom and Jerry DVD for $5 at Target this summer during a long road trip, and the kids were busting up the whole time, it is one of their favorites. Made me nostalgic for the days when kid shows didn't have to have a lesson or teach you something (Which path is the straightest? let's ask Map!)

My daughter also loves Wipeout... and My husband watches some show called Ridiculousness where Rob Dyrdeck (Rob and Big) shows clips of people skateboarding into walls, falling down stairs, and getting hit in the balls and stuff and she reeeally seems to like that one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

My son is 5. We don't watch a lot of tv. I let him watch up to 45 minutes of tv shows or one movie at one time. We often go weeks without watching tv at all. However, if he is sick I sometimes let him watch more. We have made discs of his favorites. He likes a lot of the shows that are on Disney Jr. and a few on cartoon network.

His current favorites are Special Agent Oso, Octonauts, Curious George, and Dinosaur Train. Dinosaur train is watched on my computer. He likes the games for Dinosaur Train. He will also watch Olivia, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Gazoon, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Bear in the Big Blue House, Poo and Friends, Little Einsteins, Barbar, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Mickey Mouse Club House, Handy Manny, Elmo's World, Word World, Gaspard and Lisa, Jungle Junction,Timmy Time, Koala Brothers, and Wiggles. Plus a couple of Japanese cartoons, Hamutaro and Anpan man. I prefer to show them to him on disc, rather than watching all the commercials too. When he watches Wiggles, he usually dances while there is music playing.

He also loves watching documentaries on trains, cars, dinosaurs, animals, sea creatures, and travel. My husband and I always preview them for any violence or inappropriate language or mature topics. My son loves the series Mutant Planet (documentaries on weather patterns, geology, and animals of a particular country: He loves the one on New Zealand with the Kakapo.) He also liked Animal Planet's series on the Big Cats.

As for movies, we usually go with Disney/Pixar such as the Cars movies, Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo, or the Ice Age movies. But his favorite has to be Totoro. He was super excited to see Totoro in Toy Story 3.

I am fine with him watching the shows on Disney Jr. I know a few of the kids in his Sunday school class at church are watching things like Harry Potter and Star Wars, but I think that it is still a little early for those. I am sure that they would scare my son too much. He is afraid of Eve in Wall-E, and Kungfoo Panda is a big no-no. When the leopard first appeared, we had to turn it off. Even so, he had nightmares for weeks. I will probably introduce Narnia to him first, and then only through the books until I am sure he won't get nightmares. Last year at Christmas, I read him Mickey's Scrooge story. He was terrified of Marley, and we had to get rid of the entire collection of Disney Christmas stories. I love Dicken's Christmas Carol and thought the Mickey Mouse version was cute, but I won't be getting that back out anytime soon.

Go with the shows you think are appropriate and as long as she likes them let her see them. I know my son doesn't mind seeing the same episode again. He even uses the shows as a jump off for his pretend play. I love Oso. Oso and his three special steps can get my son to do just about anything once he starts to protest and helps us stay focused on what needs to get done. Watch the shows together and they can often give you ideas how to try something, or avoid a tantrum by engaging in a talk about something your child finds interesting. Hope that helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My DD is about 4.5 and watches what your DD watches. Not so much Dora anymore, but she likes Little Einsteins, Team Umizoomi, Imagination Movers, Charlie and Lola. Occasionally Care Bears, My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake. Dino Dan, Dinosaur Train, and Chuggington are also sometimes on the list.

Don't change the channel because some other kid watches shows that are different or older. My DD does like Phineas and Ferb when SD is home, and she is a fan of Ruby Gloom (netflix). The real issue, IMO, is if your DD is being picked on and if so, teach her to say, "We can like different things" and move on. It may also be that (like my DD) the child has older cousins or older siblings and is exposed to Beiber and such through them.

Heck, I've caught the big kids watching Sesame Street in HS. Let her watch what she likes as long as it's appropriate. :)

For kid friendly music, we have a "grown up palatable" playlist on our ipods and I also have a kid channel on Pandora. DD listens to everything from Wiggles to Queen.

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answers from Savannah on

Joseph turned 6 about 3 weeks ago. In the mornings SOMETIMES he watches Arthur, Curious George, or Dinosaur Train if he's ready for school and it's a busy morning for us. (Not all 3 in one day; just depends on if he's gotten up early and is waiting to eat, or gotten up on time and ready for school early). Sometimes, he watches Joyce Meyer with me and we cuddle on the couch. In the evenings if I'm slightly late getting dinner ready, he watches Malcolm in the Middle or Everybody Hates Chris reruns with his dad (this would be like a few times a month max)---I know Malcolm in the Middle may not be considered the most "wholesome" choice but the boys are so bad that it's more cartoonish, completely out there, and our kids know it's just funny, stupid humor. I would prefer that to the tween shows, which are cheesy and sassy but not so off the wall....easier to be influenced by something that's almost normal but not ok to act like, in my eyes. (The only reason I know what those shows are is that my bff's son is 11). Besides, they're watching the TV with Daddy and it's a "guy time" to goof off. My husband and I love Malcolm, but if the topic on that episode is a little too much, we'll just skip to another episode (we dvr them so we can skip commercials).
On Sundays, there's usually some national geographic, science, or history channel thing on before church. My 6 year old can watch it with his dad, we love history, but some of it isn't appropriate for my younger 2 year old to watch (war scenes), so I keep him busy doing something he chooses. Really, that's about it. They watch movies though; it's not like the boys are banned from watching things, it's just that we're pretty busy most of the time.

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answers from Kansas City on

so, we're going through possible adhd diagnosis right now, so this week we have not watched tv at all (sigh)...BUT - our son loves the following:

phineas and ferb
the electric company
wild kratts
anything scooby doo
americas funniest videos (he even knows Tom Bergeron, and calls it "AFV!") lol

amongst tons of others, some i allow, and some i don't. i can't stand the "anime" style of cartoons so most of those we don't watch. OH he also likes all the superhero type cartoons, there's an iron man one, there's a "young justice league" one, there's a green lantern one. those aren't my favorites but he LOOOOVES them.

my son is 6 but still in kindergarten. about this little girl your dd is friends with, i would not judge "normal kids" by her. it sounds like her parents are pretty permissive, and i would not have been thrilled with her calling my child "a little kid" because of the shows they watch...if that's her normal m.o. i would probably start limiting their contact. if it's just normal kid stuff (kids get into spats all the time, then they're fine) then i'd let it go, but that would bug me.

now as far as music goes, we listen to "pop" stations, rock stations, alternative stations, whatever. so whatever is on, he hears. i try to stay away from the really vulgar/graphic lyrics but normally we channel surf to find good songs. i'm not sure i could point out a bieber song because his style isn't really our favorite, but i don't avoid it just for the sake of avoiding it. we like what we like.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We don't have cable so it's just PBS for us and Netflix. She likes Martha Speaks, Wild Krats, Arthur. On Netflix she watches Strawberry Shortcake, Rugrats, Phineas & Ferb, Jane and the Dragon. A lot of these shows are watched by her and her big brother (he's 8).

We also watch Survivor, The Amazing Race, Wipeout & Wheel of Fortune.



answers from Houston on

My 5 yo and 2.5 yo girls watch Peppa Pig and Team Umizoomi on Nick Jr. And in the car they watch Barney, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 5 yo sometimes watches Princess stories or Barbie movies, but 2 yo starts to throw a fit, so those don't get repeated ;) Also, they like Strawberry Shortcake, but only if it's a movie with no commercials-that's the only reason we don't like The Hub.


answers from Sarasota on

Star Wars
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Kung Fu Panda
Phineas and Ferb
The Legend of Korra

These are her main faves. Lots of action but not snarky or rude.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter is all about My LIttle Pony at the moment. She was all about Super Why and Zyberchase...She loves wild kratts. Sometimes she will do phineas and ferb, Horseland (to appease her brother), and Dinosaur Tails.

We only stream from Netflix and watch PBS.

She did want to watch some of the "older" shows after a neighbor gave her some ICarly glasses. I had to put a stop to that.



answers from Seattle on

We don't have cable (thank goodness), so TV shows are restricted to PBS kids shows. Favorites are Curious George, Cat in the Hat, and Super Why. But, they'll (my 3 and 5yos) will also watch Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, and Sid the Science Kid. When our oldest was younger, she loved Thomas.

For vids, they'll watch My Lil Pony, Angelina Ballerina, and most Disney and Pixar movies (not all). Lately, they're into Miyazaki films. Just the gentlest ones (My Friend Totoro, Ponyo, Kiki's Delivery Service.) Ooh. Mary Poppins is also in the rotation.



answers from Portland on

We don't really watch much tv. Maybe a show or two a week. Kiddo is five and in kindergarten and I usually just gauge his desire for it if he asks. When he does watch, Dinosaur Train is his favorite of all time.He also likes cooking shows--I'm not joking, I'll put those on while I fold clothes and he watches with me, asking questions about what's happening. The same with nature videos.

One thing I've learned over the years with kids is that they are genuinely interested in adults engaged in different kinds of work. My son actually often prefers these sorts of things and will ask for them specifically. And I think it's fine to be very thoughtful about the examples we offer our kids. Television is part of that--the example we offer. Our kids still are little and don't have a well-developed sense of differentiation still. This cares for that age-appropriate innocence and honors it.



answers from Kansas City on

I have 3 boys, so they have no idea who Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana are! My oldest is 7 and it is a tough age for TV. In the morning PBS (Curious George & Cat in the Hat) is on the TV. That's usually all the TV we watch. Occasionally, they'll ask to watch a movie...like Barnyard or Toy Story.



answers from Kansas City on

My 5-next-month son watches a few shows, but none in the tween genre. Not really b/c I won't let him, but b/c he is not interested. (we don't have cable so I am limited to what PBS, qubo and the Roku box have on them.)

Right now a HUGE hit for him is Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman on PBS. He prefers live action things to cartoons but the animated dog as the host provides some giggles to go with what the "real" kids are doing. It's sort of geared towards science and really fun.

Today he watched an episode of Oswald, which I thought he may have outgrown but still seems to enjoy sometimes.

Sid the Science Kid was popular with him this summer.

His before-school treat is one segment of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I think he will outgrow it pretty soon. He likes it because it is new.

One day a week we are home when Mighty Machines airs and he really likes that.

Most of the time, he will ask for a train video (live-action things about trains) or a Hard Hat Harry video (live action that explores things like helicopters, trains, fire trucks, etc) or an episode of The Aviators (a program about air shows, aircraft, whatnot.).

When we had cable he enjoyed Peppa Pig but was losing interest in it quickly. Sometimes Team Umizoomi was a favorite.

He only watches one or two shows at a time - the same ones for a few weeks - so it's hard to pinpoint what he likes at any given moment.

For what it's worth, I think Nick Jr. and PBS have great programming, way better than Disney or "regular" Nick which we never found anything to watch on. I agree that 5 year olds don't need to be watching shows meant for older kids, but that really might be b/c mine doesn't like them!



answers from Chicago on

I guess my son is the odd one out.

His faves(even at seven):

Jane and the Dragon
Dinosaur Train
Thomas & Friends/Shining Time Station(Yes I have originals of that)
Dr. Seuss on the Loose(on DVD), and the original cartoons.
Blue's Clues(My friends taped them for him)

PBS(Especially when they do the fund raisers and have the Classical music on it--his station is always WFMT 98.7{Chicago classical station} and watches Boston Pops when I can get the channel in(I don't have cable).

My Mother watched Betty Boop, Looney Tunes, and Tom & Jerry together with him(better than the Spongebob my friend's kids are all on about).
I also have a ton of DVD's with shows like Planet Ocean, and BBC's Planet Earth. He's watched movies like Forbidden Kingdom(and I read Journey to the West to him for perspective) and Hidalgo.

He mostly listens to his classical music(he's got an extensive collection from Joshua Bell and Daniel Hope's Violins, to the Classical Pop of Josh Groban)...when he's not playing Bad Piggies(He didn't play video games until late last year with a friends introduction to Angry Birds), and I super limit him with that.

TV doesn't interest him as much, and he has a book collection which fascinates him(he's claimed half of my books in the name of Library!).


answers from Grand Forks on

When my younger son was five (he's seven now) they were mostly watching Teletoon Retro. They loved Scooby Doo and the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. They also liked Ben Ten, Bakugan, Spongebob and America's Funniest Videos. They PVR'd the shows they liked.



answers from San Francisco on

Ours is the youngest so he seems to be watching what the older kids watch.

We love Spongebob, iCarly and Kickin' It. We watch mainly shows On Demand (it is through Comcast...recorded shows you can watch over and over) or movies.



answers from Los Angeles on

Nothing. We don't watch TV, but I do have some videos we occasionally put on:

School House Rocks
Stanley - LOVE this one!

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